HEWITT, D., 2016. Designing educational software: The case of grid algebra. Digital Experiences in Mathematics Education, 2 (2), pp. 167-198.
To be successful educational software needs to be carefully designed in order to provide constraints and freedoms (Greeno 1994) which relate to its educational aims, restrict or enable learners and teachers to carry out certain actions, and be based upon a clear set of beliefs related to the complex dynamic of teaching and learning. This paper seeks to show the contraints and freedoms built in to the design of Grid Algebra; software which offers an intuitive and novel approach to early algebraic learning, and how they have been informed by a clear set of beliefs and frameworks. The paper shows how the design has taken into consideration known misconceptions that many learners exhibit with early algebra work and how the three frameworks of arbitrary and necessary, subordination and embodied cognition have been fundamental to the design of both the software and some of the activities used with the software. The paper finishes off with considering limitations of the software as well as some strengths that its design offers, and poses questions to consider about the design of this and other resources
The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40751-016-0018-4.